Early learning and childcare
Children who are three years old along with some two year olds can get a free place at a playgroup or nursery. You can choose to send your child to a council run facility or an approved private playgroup or nursery.
View information about early learning and childcare:
- Early learning and childcare for three year olds
- Early learning and childcare for two year olds
- Contact Early Years team
Your child is eligible for a place from August, January or April depending when they turn three:
- Children who turn three before 31 August are eligible for a place in August of that year
- Children who turn three before 31 December are eligible for a place in January of the next year
- Children who turn three before 28 February are eligible for a place in April of that year
Children receive up to 600 hours of free early learning and childcare each year. You can choose where to use it.
Before applying you can view the pre-school application pack (pdf 3.05MB). You can also collect an application pack from a council run learning and childcare provider.
To apply for a council run place complete the early learning and childcare application form (pdf 159KB) and visit the facility of your chose. You should take evidence of your child’s date of birth (original birth certificate) and proof of address such as a recent utility bill or bank statement with you.
Enrol at a private playgroup or nursery
For entry to a private playgroup or nursery you should apply directly to the facility of your choice. They will provide you with an application form.
If your child was born between 1st March 2015 and 20th February 2016 they may be entitled to an early learning and childcare place.
Two year olds who are looked after and accommodated or are under a kinship or guardianship order are eligible for a place. You can contact your social worker to apply.
Your child will also be eligible if your family receives:
- Income Support
- Jobseeker's Allowance (income based)
- Incapacity Benefit or Severe Disablement Allowance
- State Pension Credit
- any income related element of the Employment and Support Allowance
- Child tax credit but not Working Tax Credit and your income is below £16,105
- both maximum child tax credit and Working Tax Credit with income less than £6,420
- support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
- Universal Credit (interim measure)
- any other qualifying benefit the Department for Work and Pensions lists
You can request an application form from your local Department of Work and Pension office or the by contacting our Early Years team. We will process your application centrally.
You can contact our Early Years team in writing, by telephone or email: